Second continuance request granted in Mayors case

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2007

LINDEN &8212; Circuit Judge Eddie Hardaway granted a second continuance request in the case of Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson, despite appeals from District Attorney Greg Griggers in court on Monday.

The request was from Williamson&8217;s representation, Bill Clark of Birmingham, who claims to have conflicts with Monday&8217;s scheduled date.

In the hearing, Clark said he asked that certain files pertinent to the case be sent to his office and has received no reply from the district attorney&8217;s office.

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Griggers responded by saying he has shipped all of the requested files via overnight mail to Clark&8217;s office last week.

Griggers also responded to a letter sent to his office from Clark stating the process of indictment should be under review.

Griggers said the indictment was brought against Williamson after evidence presented to the grand jury and probable cause had been determined.

Griggers described the case as an &8220;ongoing saga&8221; with his office, which he would like to see resolved.

Williamson was indicted by two grand juries on Feb. 7, who charged the mayor with knowingly and intentionally obtaining city funds for personal use and knowingly obtaining city funds for personal use by deception. Both indictments stem from the same incident involving improper receipt of healthcare as the mayor of Demopolis.

Griggers said he sought the indictments against Williamson, which were added to the grand jury docket before Williamson had been formally charged and arrested for the crimes, at the behest of the unanimous decision of the Demopolis City Council. The council has said it only sought the indictments after trying other avenues to remedy the situation had failed.

Williamson turned herself in to the Marengo County Sheriff&8217;s Department on Feb. 9 and was released on a $2,000 bond. Williamson&8217;s attorney entered a not guilty plea through a written waiver, allowing her to abstain from attending her arraignment on March 6.

Events leading to the indictment began in October when city attorney Rick Manley, acting on the behalf of the council and the mayor, notified the Ethics Commission of the mayor&8217;s receiving health insurance paid for by the city. The council did not approve the benefits package the mayor had been receiving when her salary was set in 2004.

Manley sent a letter of notification on Oct. 6, 2006. The Ethics Commission responded less than a week later on Oct. 12, 2006, stating that since all moneys were paid back to the city by the mayor no further action would be taken. The commission indicated they were understaffed to pursue the matter.

Council members said they had an obligation to seek the indictments.

The indictments are both classified as theft of property in the fist degree, which is class B felony and each charge carries a sentence of two to 20 years imprisonment.